The Year of Chicago Music Band Roster

Year of Chicago Music  >  Band Roster


Chicago is a global music leader. Its musical heritage is legendary as the birthplace of house and gospel music, urban blues and modern jazz, and today’s music scene is as strong as ever, spanning across genres including hip hop, gospel, indie rock, experimental, jazz, Latinx, classical and more. We are a city of stunning music halls, authentic neighborhood clubs, world-class festivals and a youth music scene that is lively and inspiring. In support of Chicago’s thriving music industry, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events have designated 2020 as the “Year of Chicago Music.”

As a part of the Year of Chicago Music, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE) will launch the Chicago Band Roster, a searchable database of high-quality musical performers that are Chicago residents. The program aims to increase meaningful performance opportunities for Chicago-based musicians.

Ensembles of all musical genres are encouraged to apply to be listed on the Chicago Band Roster. Following the competitive applications process, the Chicago Band Roster will be posted on the DCASE website as a resource for residents and organizations looking to present high-quality music programs. The roster may also be used by DCASE staff to program festivals and events produced by the City of Chicago including DCASE’s new Neighborhood Concerts Program.

The Neighborhood Concerts program will support free programs in neighborhoods throughout the city, with a specific emphasis on Chicago’s south and west side neighborhoods. For participating neighborhood programs, the event presenters will select musicians from the Chicago Band Roster, and DCASE will pay the musician directly at rates established below. Neighborhood program presenters are responsible for coordinating production logistics with musicians, marketing the event and communicating program information to DCASE staff.

During the citywide, year-long Year of Chicago Music initiative, DCASE will work with key industry leaders and organizations to convene public and private resources in support of Chicago’s music industry. The goal is to place a spotlight on Chicago’s music landscape – one of the most influential and dynamic musical sectors on the globe – highlighting its legacy, expanding its audience and strengthening it through programs that support musicians and sustain creative and cultural development with a focus on the south and west sides of the City.


Chicago Band Roster Eligibility

  • This opportunity is open to professionals (over the age of 18) solo musical acts, bands and music ensembles of all genres including DJs and vocalists.
  • Professional musician is defined as an artist that has 1) received compensation for their creative work, 2) has received public or peer recognition for their work, 3) received training or acquired knowledge related to the artist's work, or 4) has had a public performance or exhibition.
  • Additionally, all members of an applicant music group must be an adult over the age of 18 and play a musical instrument and/or be a vocalist.
  • Solo acts and band leaders applying must be residents of the City of Chicago. Ensemble members can be from the Chicagoland area.


Program Requirements

  • If selected to be listed on the Chicago Band Roster, individual musicians and groups must be willing to perform up to three times per year in the Neighborhood Concerts Program and/or at a City-produced festival or event for set local rates ($400 for one musician/group leader and $350 for each side musician).
  • Musicians selected to perform as part of the free Neighborhood Concert Program will be paid by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Payments will be delivered or mailed to the artist upon completion of the scheduled performance.


Selection Criteria

  • Acceptance to the Chicago Band Roster is done through a competitive process. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of music experts that include professional musicians, presenters and arts administrators.
  • Applicants will be reviewed on artistic excellence and cultural diversity as demonstrated in application attachments and work samples.
  • Applicants must demonstrate an ability to work with diverse presenting and organizational groups that may access the Chicago Musicians Roster



Applications must be submitted at the online application on Cybergrants by Friday, Febraury 14, 2020, at 5pm CST. Selected applicants will be notified by March 2020. Apply at:


Chicago Band Roster Information Sessions will be held at the following dates/locations:
Friday December 27, 2019, 2–3pm
South Chicago Public Library, 9055 S. Houston Ave.

Monday December 30, 2019, 1–2pm
Austin Chicago Public Library, 5615 W. Racine Ave.

Tuesday January 14, 2020, 10am–Noon
Kusanya Café, 825 W. 69th St.

Wednesday January 15, 2020, 11am–12:30pm
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., 5th Floor Garland Room

Wednesday January 15, 2020, 5:30–7pm
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., 4th Floor Conference Room


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